ATLETICO MADRID are prepared to offer Celtic £20million for midfielder Matt O’Riley.

The La Liga outfit played Brendan Rodgers’ side in the Champions League group stages earlier in the season and the elegant midfielder obviously caught the eye of Diego Simeone, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The ill-mannered Argentinian coach impressed no-one with his disgraceful antics on the touchline in the 2-2 draw in Glasgow and the 6-0 win over the 10-man visitors in the Spanish capital.

Simeone bemused his opposite number Rodgers with his lack of good manners at the end of both games where the customary handshakes between the team bosses is usually a requisite.

SMILES BETTER…Matt O’Riley celebrates his goal in Celtic’s 3-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley earlier this month.

Just when we thought we had seen the last of this unsavoury character, he has popped up with an offer of £20million for a 23-year-old Danish international with an awesome future ahead of him, barring, of course, any unforseen mishaps.

Atletico, who are working within the constraints of Financial Fair Play regulations, made a bid yesterday to remove O’Riley from the champions on loan until the end of the season with an obligation to buy in the summer.

However, it looks as though the Madrid club are now getting ready to up the ante and spark a bidding war for the elegant London-born performer who was snapped up by the Hoops from English third-tier outfit MK Dons two years ago.

Simeone and other interested parties are likely to be disappointed with Rodgers being afforded precious little time to line up a replacement for O’Riley who has hit the ground running and claimed 10 goals already in this campaign.

It’s a waste of everyone’s time to offer a mere £20million for the lavishly-skilled midfielder when you consider Arsenal were happy to shell out £5million more for left-back Kieran Tierney in August 2019.

Filipe Jota also cost £25million when he headed for Saudi Arabia in the summer.

AIR WE GO…Matt O’Riley leaps high in delight after scoring against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park with Mikey Johnston about to join in the celebrations.
It begs the question: Why would Celtic even consider accepting anything less for a player who is leading the charge for the Hoops’ twelfth title in 13 years?
There’s not a lot of room for manoeuvre at the Premiership pinnacle with Rodgers’ side five points ahead over their nearest challengers who have a game in hand. Philippe Clement’s outfit racked up three more points with their remarkably easy 3-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road last night.
La Liga pacesetters Girona and Italian duo Inter Milan and Bologna are said to be watching the situation while Leeds United had a £10million offer dismissed in August.
The Parkhead club do not need to sell a player who signed an enhanced four-year deal in September and, by all accounts, is more than content with life in Glasgow.
OH, SO CLOSE…Matt O’Riley sends a low drive past Kilmarnock keeper Will Dennis, but the shot inches past the post.
Of course, the situation could change fairly dramatically in the summer. The serious money could come into play and the Hoops hierarchy will surely realise O’Riley’s value will rocket if he has an outstanding Euro 24 Finals with his adopted nation in June.
The Danes are due to play England in the soccer showpiece and a convincing display in that game will undoubtedly push his worth to another level.
Diego’s derisory offer of £20million will look like mere chickenfeed if that event transpires – and we all know O’Riley possesses the qualities to showcase his ability in that particular confrontation.
For the time being, the Celtic supporters can enjoy witnessing the midfield masterclass skills of an exceptionally gifted player.
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